Alas, no banquet today. We went to a neighboring town of WuXi to visit some famous garden, and just to make Velius jealous, we went to this park where they have the movie set for the tv series "Romance of The Three Kingdom". You can walk around and they have shows about stories from ROTK. It is really cool.
I am too tired to write now, Will have to add more details later after my nap.
ETA: Alright I am back and refreshed.
So WuXi is about 1 hour away by car from ChangZhou. The funny thing is that the dialect there is completely different from ChangZHou and I can't understand any of it. Amazing how people can communicate before. we decided to go there because it is on the shore of 太湖 Tai Lake, this really beautiful lake that is the subject of many poems in Chinese history. So there are many beautiful gardens, and temples and houses along the shore. It is a good place to go for a day trip.
We decide to take the train. The newest train in China is the D train (动车）. It is the fastest and has the best service. It is kind of like Shinkasen in Japan. The trip from ChangZHou to WuXi only takes about 15 minutes. It is really cheap too, the economy class seats are only 12 yuan (2 dollars). The first class seats, which is similar to first class on airplanes but with bigger leg room, is only 10 yuan more. They also have the cleanest bathroom I have ever seen on a train! You can totally tell progress in China by how clean the bathrooms are. They have been getting cleaner and cleaner every year I've been back. Now if only they would have real toilet seats instead of a hole in the ground.
After we arrived, we asked one of my uncles to drive us to 蠡园 (Li's Garden)。 This is a house that was built in the 20s so it is not that old. But its owner spent an enormous amount of effort to make it as authentic and as traditional as possible. the result is this gorgeous garden house that is very typical of southeastern Chinese architecture. There are ponds inside of gardens, surrounded by pagodas and all hidden away behind these rock mountains. I really loved it because it is still new enough that things have not started to fall apart and yet it has that very ancient feel. The reason it is called Li's garden is due to the legend of Fan Li and Xi Shi (one of the 4 most beautiful women in Chinese history). Supposedly xi Shi was born on the shore of Tai Lake and this is where the couple finally retired to.
We were seriously running behind on schedule because Li's Garden was so much fun to walk through even though it really isn't that big （still ridiculous large for one person to live in). Next stop is 鼋头渚. Turtle Head Peninsula on Tai Lake. This place is just famous for nature scenery and its view of Tai Lake. I actually made a mistake here as we decided to follow the tour route the tour map suggested which took us to this island Three Hills Island first. It turned out they have built a bunch of really fake photo spots on there, like a fake temple, and fake carved rock Buddha and many many touristy shops. OMG, it was horrible. Total waste of time and the boat ride took really long time. We were totally cheated. The 2 hours we spent there could have bene spent wandering around the hiking trails around the peninsula as they do have really great view of the lake and the mountains. By the time we came back from the island, we were pretty much out of time and had to run to the next stop.
Ok, now comes the fun part. At the end of the day we made a quick visit to 三国城. This is a theme park made from the leftover movie set from the tv series "Romance of the three Kingdom". They still use the set for other period films too. But when it is free, they let people buy tickest to go in and walk around. We visited SunQuan's palace, the navy camps of Caocao and SunQuan for the Battle at Red Cliff among other things. The coolest thing there is that they have this show that is the battle at Hu Lao gate where the Liubei, GuanYu and Zhangfei fought Lu Bu all at the same time. it was really awesome show. Everybody was on horses and they had real duels and fireworks and charges of the infantry. This show was better than any other one I have ever seen at another theme park. I took video too. It was totally worth the trip!
Come to think of it, my entire WuXi trip consisted of fake old stuff haha, I saw garden built in the 20s,fake temples aka tourist trap, and a movie set for Three Kingdom!